"Though the wisdom of some of his actions may seem questionable, as an actor and artist I'm inclined to take an empathetic view of his conduct," Franco wrote.
LaBeouf, 27, has been under the focus of media scrutiny since December, whenhe was accused of plagiarizing the work of graphic novelist Daniel Clowesfor his short film "HowardCantour.com." Soon after, allegations of plagiarism were again leveled at LaBeouf overhis public apology to Clowes.
The actor's behaviorfurther came under the microscope afterhe wore a paper bag, inscribed with the words "I am not famous anymore," over his head to the premiere of his new film, "Nymphomaniac." He was also seen donning a similar bag last week in an L.A.art installation called "#IAmSorry."
Francoelaborated, "Indeed I hope -- and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones - that [LaBeouf's] actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona."
The"This Is the End"star went on to note that performers have been known to rebel at times during their careers.
"As an actor, you are often in the uncomfortable position of being the most visible part of a project while having the least amount of say over its final form," Franco wrote.
As an example, he citedMarlon Brando, who often defied studio demands to stay in shape and refused his best actor Oscar for"The Godfather"in 1973. There's also mention made ofJoaquin Phoenix, who attracted significant press attention while staying in character during the filming of his"I'm Still Here"mockumentary.
"Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d'être," he added.
Francoended the piece by calling LaBeouf's latest PR mishaps a "worthy" project: "I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist."
In 2000, a then-13-year-old LaBeouf appeared in an episode of"Freaks and Geeks,"a cult series which Franco starred on as a main cast member.
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